Farm Tour Visitors
We had visitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo on our farm recently. We took the couple on a tour of our organic stone fruit farm. The first thing the wife did was reach down and grab a handful of dirt and smell it. Why would she want to smell dirt?
Healthy Dirt or Not?
You can tell the health of the dirt by smelling it. Healthy dirt is rich in microorganisms. Biological composting makes the dirt smell like, well – dirt. By using only naturally occurring organic compounds to treat our soil and trees, the ground can maintain the proper balance of living organisms. Artificial chemicals and fertilizers disrupt this balance. Over-treated soil will not smell like dirt is supposed to smell.
To Till or Not to Till
There are differences of opinion regarding whether farmers should till or not, how much to till, when to till, … . Controlling weeds is one of the most difficult parts of organic farming. We till or disk our fields for various reasons. One is weed control. We have tried numerous methods including digging, mowing, burning, and steaming the weeds, but have not found a better solution than disking. We also till to improve the flow of water to our trees. If there is a threat of frost, we can run water quickly to protect the blossoms and fruit. Another reason we till is for the safety of our employees. The weeds can be a tripping hazard and slow them down as they are working in the fields. Notice not all the weeds are gone. It is important to leave some to harbor beneficial insects (topic for another blog).
Don’t Forget to Stop and Smell the Dirt
Visitors to our farm are encouraged to touch and smell the dirt. Healthy dirt is part of sustainable agriculture, meaning keeping the farm going and growing. So the next time you are in a garden or on a farm, stop and smell the dirt. You’ll be glad you did.